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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

9 Ways to Stop Complicating Life and Start Living

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9 Ways to Stop Complicating Life and Start Living

Yes, we’ve all been there—those times when life seems so incredibly complicated that we have no idea what we should be doing next. These are the moments where you need to pause, take a breath, and relax. Because the truth is, we often overcomplicate things. We prevent ourselves from clearly visualizing the problem because we panic.

In this article, I am going to walk you through some of the ways that you can stop complicating life and begin truly living.

Sounds pretty awesome right? Let’s get right into it!

1. You’re a Work in Progress

Look, you’re a work in progress, and you likely always will be. It’s time for you to accept that fact. The beauty is that you’re not alone. Everyone else on this planet is in the same boat. If our ships are sinking on this issue, we’re sinking together.

Remember, just because you’re a work in progress doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough. It simply highlights that you’re still trying to improve and that you have more to learn. If you aren’t a work in progress at this point, I feel truly sorry for you. You’re missing out.

Overall, my point here is to stop complicating things because you feel you’re not good enough. You certainly are good enough. So, stop hating on yourself for not being perfect.

2. Live Honestly

You have no idea how many people I see overcomplicate their lives because they choose to live immorally. Not only does this make them look bad but they feel bad about themselves as well.

When you lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead or benefit yourself in some other way, you complicate things for yourself. You’re always worrying about whether or not you’re going to get caught or whether or not it’s all going to catch up to you—as you should be!

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So, stop living this way. Live morally. Be kind to others and live an honest life. Stop complicating life by being a bad person. Just keep things simple by doing the things that you know are right at your heart and at your core.

3. Communicate Clearly

This is probably one of the most significant ways to remove some of your life’s complexity. Too many people cause problems for themselves simply because they don’t know how to communicate effectively.

They say things they don’t mean or mean things they don’t say, and this creates problems. Nobody is a mind reader, so if what we say isn’t clear, it’s likely going to be misinterpreted and that’s going to cause problems down the line!

If you practice good and clear communication regularly, you’ll notice just how much this impacts your life and the problems that it helps you avoid. Don’t underestimate this crucial skill and just how much it influences your daily life.

4. Stop Being Too Materialistic

Yikes, this is a big one. Far too many of us are driven by the script that society forces on us telling us that we need more of everything.

Quantity is never going to be all that it’s hyped up to be. Quality is always going to be better than quantity. So, instead of trying to hoard everything, seek out quality in the things that you seek to possess—whether that’s materials, friendships, or experiences doesn’t truly matter.

Stop trying to spend money that you don’t have to impress people that you don’t even care about impressing.

Wealth isn’t obtained through material possessions, so manage it wisely. Simply trying to reduce your craving for material possessions will go a long towards reducing the complexity of your lifestyle.

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5. Don’t Waste Time Changing People

If you want to make your life more complex than it’s ever been, start spending your time trying to change and control the people around you. I guarantee they will not appreciate your efforts and will eventually cause you to dislike your own life.

So, stop complicating life by beginning to just accept people for the way that they are. Save yourself the trouble of trying to change and control people who don’t want you to influence them in this way.

Just appreciate them for who they are and if you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time to consider whether or not you should be spending your time with someone else.

6. Reduce Exposure to Toxic People

You truly are the average of the people that you decide to surround yourself with. That’s why it’s important to continually be auditing your social circle.

If you have the choice, spend more time with people who are smart, mature, driven, and kind and less time with the people who are the opposite. This is because one group is going to pull you and your development forward, whereas the other group will hold you back.

That’s not to say you have to avoid these people entirely, you just have to reduce your exposure to them.

Life is quick and if you spend in with the wrong people, you risk ending up with some serious regrets. Additionally, if these people have toxic tendencies, chances are some of the problems in your life stem from them rather than from yourself.

Trust me, you don’t need their help in making your life more difficult or challenging.

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7. Stop Procrastinating Everything

Look, we both know that you do this. We all do it from time to time. But procrastination is one of the biggest stressors that we impose onto ourselves in our lives. And we do it willingly. Why? There’s no good reason for this added stress.

We know that we have to get something done, yet we continually leave it until the last minute. This unnecessarily complicates our lives. So, do whatever it is that you need to do to eliminate procrastination from your life as much as possible.

Make to-do lists, make a schedule, and set deadlines for yourself that are well ahead of when something needs to be completed by. Do whatever you need to do to get things done early.

This way will help you to stop complicating life and get on top of things. And when you’ve finally got everything together, you’ll feel more in control of your life and this will help you to live more fully.

8. Learn How to Say No

Look, you can’t do everything for everyone. If you try to say yes to everyone, you’re going to end up disappointing more people than you please, and you’ll complicate your life in the process.

It’s a lose-lose scenario. You don’t need that in your life.

Ironically, learning how to say no to some people sometimes is going to help you in multiple ways.

First, it’s going to allow you to focus on the people and opportunities that you truly want to spend time on. That will help you to be happier over an average day simply because you’re doing the things that you want to do.

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Second, it’s going to allow you to be more present with those people and opportunities. That will allow you to bring your full self to each situation so you can have the biggest positive impact possible.

So, do yourself a massive favor and stop making all those promises that you either can’t or don’t want to keep. Overcommitting yourself will result in you spreading yourself too thin and that will make you miserable.

9. Focus More on Things You Can Control

Look, life is crazy sometimes. I get it. We all have that craving to control things because it makes us feel better about all that chaos.

However, you could try your entire life and still come nowhere close to controlling all of it. That’s why it’s better to simply begin figuring out what things you can and can’t control. Once you’ve done that you can begin focusing on what you can control.

By focusing your energy on the things you can control, you spare yourself from wasted time and energy trying to control things you have no influence over. Not only will that reduce your stress but it will also be good for your mental health in the long-run.

This is a great way to stop complicating life and begin progressing in the right direction because your energy becomes fixated on the areas that matter.

Final Thoughts

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are countless other ways that you could also stop complicating life to live more fully. These are just some common suggestions that people find useful.

So, pick and choose which of these might make sense to your life. Figure out which ones are going to help you make progress towards reducing stress and complexity.

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You work hard. You owe it to yourself to also live fully.

More Tips on How to Stop Complicating Life

Featured photo credit: Maksym Kaharlytskyi via unsplash.com

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Mark Lynch

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

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Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

If you’ve ever felt like work-life balance isn’t really possible, you may be right.

Actually, I think work-life balance doesn’t exist. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a rising star in the corporate world, work is always going to overflow from your 9 to 5 into your personal life. And if you have ambitions of becoming successful in just about any capacity, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.

Which is why, instead of striving for the unrealistic goal of “work-life balance,” I use a combination of rituals, tools, and coping mechanisms that allows me to thrive on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, moments still arise when I may feel overloaded with work and a bit out of balance, but with these daily rituals in place, I am able to feel grounded instead of feeling like I’m losing my mind.

Here are five daily practices I use to stay focused and balanced despite a jam-packed work schedule:

1. Pause (Frequently!) to Remember That You Chose This Path

Regardless of which path you take in life, it’s important to remind yourself that you are the one who chose the path you’re on.

For example, one of the joys of being an entrepreneur is that you experience a significant amount of freedom. Unfortunately, in moments of stress, it’s easy to forget that choice goes both ways: you chose to go your own way, and you chose the obstacles that come with that journey.

Remember: tomorrow, you could choose to leave your job, shut down your company, and go move to a farm in the middle of nowhere. The choice is yours.

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Whenever I catch myself thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I simply remember, “Oh, wait. I chose this.” And if I want to, I can choose another option. But at this moment, I own it because I chose it.

That simple mental shift can help me move from feeling out of control to in control. It’s empowering.

2. Use ‘Rocks’ to Prioritize Your Tasks

Sometimes having a to-do list is more overwhelming than it is helpful.

The daily tasks of anyone in a high-stakes, high-responsibility role are never-ending. Literally. No matter how many items you check off your list, each day adds just as many new ones, and even after a full day it can often feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.

So instead, I use “rocks”—a strategy I learned from performance coach Bill Nelson.

Say you have a glass container and a variety of rocks, divided into groups of large, mid-sized, and small rocks, and then some sand. If you put the small rocks in first, you’re not going to be able to fit everything in your container. But if you put the big rocks in first, then the mid-sized, and, finally, the small, they’ll all fit. And at the end, the sand fills the extra space.

The point of this strategy is to designate a handful of your biggest priorities for the week—let’s say five tasks—as the things you absolutely have to get done that week. Write them down somewhere.

Then, even if you accomplish nothing else but those five things, you’re going to feel better, since you completed the important tasks. You’ve made progress!

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Identifying your “rocks” is a better way of tracking progress and ensuring that you focus on the most critical things. You can create rocks on a weekly or even daily basis.

Some days, when I’m feeling the most frenzied, I say to myself, “You know what? Let’s boil it down. If I accomplish nothing else today and I just do these three things, it will be a good day.”

3. The PEW12 Method

Of all the daily practices I follow, Purge Emotional Writing (PEW12), which I learned from Dr. Habib Sadeghi, is my favorite.[1]

Here’s how it works:

Pick a topic, set a timer for 12 minutes, and just write.

You may be dealing with a specific issue you need to vent about, or you may be free-writing as emotions surface. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing or what your handwriting looks like, because you’re never going to re-read it.

At the end, burn the pages.

As the paper burns, you will feel all of those emotions you’ve just poured out either being reduced or dissipating completely. Both the writing process—which is literally unloading all of your unnecessary stuff—and the burning of the pages feel incredibly cathartic.

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And you can do PEW12 as frequently or infrequently as you feel you need it—once, twice, or multiple times a day.  

The reason I find this exercise so helpful is because, sometimes, I get in my head about a difficult issue or troubling interaction with someone, even when I know there is nothing to be done about it.

But as soon as I do my PEW12, I feel a sense of relief. I have more clarity. And I stop circling and circling the issue in my head. It makes things feel resolved. Just try it.

4. Set Sacred Time (Like a 20-Minute Walk or Evening Bath)

Outside of work, you have to try to protect some time for restoration and quiet. I call this sacred time.

For example, every single night I take a bath. This is a chance to literally wash off the day and any of the energy from the people, interactions, or experiences that I don’t want to take to bed with me.

I actually remodeled a bathroom in my house solely for this purpose. The bath ritual—which includes Himalayan bath salts, essential oils, and a five-minute meditation—is the ultimate “me time” and allows me to go to bed feeling peaceful and relaxed.

And while sacred time to end the day is crucial, I like to start the day with these types of practices, too.

In the mornings, I take my dog Bernard for a walk—and I use those 20 minutes to set my intention for the day. I don’t take my phone with me. I don’t think about the endless to-do list. I just enjoy listening to the birds and breathing in the sunshine, while Bernard stops to say hi to the neighbors and their dogs.

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These might seem like ordinary daily activities, but it’s the commitment to doing them day after day that makes all the difference.

5. Forgive Yourself When You Fail to Use the Tools

Sometimes our intention to follow “daily” practices falls flat. When this happens to me, I try not to beat myself up about it. After all, these things are tools to make me feel good. If they just become another chore, what is the point?

At the end of the day, my daily practices don’t belong in my jar of rocks or on my to-do list or in my daily planner. They are there to serve me.

If, for some reason, life happens and I can’t do my practices, I won’t feel as good. It’s possible I won’t sleep as well that night, or I’ll feel a little guilty that I didn’t walk Bernard.

But that’s okay. It’s also a good practice to acknowledge my limits and let go of the need to do everything all the time.

The Bottom Line

For most people, accepting that work-life balance simply isn’t possible is the first step to feeling more grounded and in control of your life.

Don’t waste your energy trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on how you’re feeling when things are out of balance and find a way to address those feelings.

You’ll have a toolkit for feeling better when life feels crazy, and, on the off chance things feel calm and happy, your rituals will make you feel absolutely amazing!

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Featured photo credit: Dries De Schepper via unsplash.com

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